Personalities | Daniel-François-Esprit Auber | Early Romantic | Opera
The French composer Daniel Auber made a favourable impression on his teacher, Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842) with his first opera, L’erreur du moment (‘The Mistake of the Moment’, 1805). However, he had to wait 15 years for popular appreciation until he established himself with two works: La bergère châtelaine (‘The Lady Shepherdess’, 1820) and Emma (1821). In 1823, Auber teamed up with the French playwright Eugène Scribe, his librettist for the Italian-style operas Leicester (1823) and La neige (‘The Snow’, 1823) and then the French-style Léocadie (1824). Auber was soon establishing himself as a master of opéra comique and confirmed this status with Le Maçon (1825), again with a libretto by Scribe. Three years later, Auber changed course again and, with his La muette de Portici, produced a work that helped establish French grand opéra as a new and imposing genre. In this seminal work, Auber injected more power into the leading roles and the choruses, reflected in his music the vivid scenic effects produced on stage and increased the role of the orchestra in building up the drama. Auber’s music was an important influence on the works of other composers, including Richard Wagner’s (1813–83) Lohengrin (1850).
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